Quesadillas (“little cheesy things”)

Quesadillas (“little cheesy things”)
This is one of the most common – and delicious – of all Mexican antojitos (“snacks”). But quesadillas contain more than just cheese, and there is more than one way to make them.

In the United States (and, largely, here in the UK) a quesadilla is made by folding a flour tortilla over some cheese (and other things). You then either “grill” the quesadilla in a hot dry frying pan or shallow-fry it on either side. A more authentically Mexican variation would be to do the same thing with a corn tortilla.

If you wanna go totally hardcore, make up some tortilla masa, shape the tortilla, fill it, fold it, and then cook it (again either frying or dry-frying).

A quesadilla can be made with just cheese, but often it is embellished with other goodies. There are no set rules for these extras; just use what you like and what you have available. As long as it ends up tasting good, there’s no “wrong” way to do it.

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  1. (To serve 4 as a light meal or 8 as a snack)
  2. 8 corn tortillas (homemade or store-bought) OR 4 flour tortillas
  3. 100 – 150 g queso chihuahua, queso oaxaca or queso fresco
  4. Various other fillings, such as shredded chicken, shredded pork (ie pulled pork or “carnitas”), chorizo, chopped courgette flowers (flores de calabacita – very popular choice in Mexico), diced cactus paddles (these are available online), chile strips (rajas – strips of chile poblano are especially good), sliced pickled jalapeños, Yucatecan pink pickled onions
  5. salsa of your choice
  6. If you go for the hardcore option, 250g of masa harina (available online from Cool Chile)
  7. These are just a few suggestions to get you started. Use as much or as little as you like (or as much as you can fit in the tortilla).
Method 1
  1. Heat a dry frying pan over medium high.
  2. Crumble or slice some cheese over one half of a corn or four tortilla, leaving at least a 1 cm gap at the edge.
  3. Sprinkle the other fillings/salsa(s) you are using, but don’t over-fill or it will be impossible to flip.
  4. Fold the other half of the tortilla over and carefully lay it on the hot dry frying pan.
  5. “Grill” for about ten seconds tops.
  6. Alternatively, heat about a tablespoon and a half of oil over medium and fry a few seconds on either side.
  7. Serve immediately topped with more salsa and goodies.
Method 2 (hardcore traditional style)
  1. Makes about 12 corn tortilla quesadillas.
  2. Sift 250 grams of masa harina into a bowl.
  3. Add 300 ml of hand-hot water and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Mix by hand into a dough.
  4. Knead for ten minutes. Then return to the bowl, cover with a damp cloth and rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  5. Heat a frying pan over medium.
  6. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (they should each be about the size of a golf ball).
  7. Lay a piece of plastic on your worktop. Put one ball of dough on the plastic, cover with another piece of plastic, and roll out into a circle about 2 mm thick and about 15 cm in diameter.
  8. Fill one half of this uncooked tortilla with cheese and add much other goodies add you wish (or can fit). Fold the other half over and press down on the edges to seal.
  9. Repeat until you have filled all the quesadillas.
  10. “Grill” the quesadillas on the hot dry frying pan for about 15 seconds on each side.
  11. Alternatively, heat a couple tablespoons of oil over medium and fry the quesadillas for about ten seconds on each side.
  12. Serve immediately, topped with salsa and extra goodies.
  1. Is an Edinburgh-based blogger and his site is a journey in celebration of Mexican food in the UK: home cooking, restaurant reviews and the finest products and ingredients on the market. Find more recipes and news at http://mexigeekedinburgh.blogspot.co.uk/
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